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Northampton leads the way with £5.5m cancer machines


Northampton General Hospital boasts the most advanced cancer centre in the UK thanks to a £5.5 million upgrade of its radiotherapy service.

Patients receiving radiotherapy treatment in Northampton will now benefit from a greater range of therapies, better accuracy in targeting cancer cells and reduced side effects thanks to the purchase of the most sophisticated cancer machines in the UK.

£5.5 million investment programme

The hospital has completed £5.5m investment programme in new equipment and facilities which has seen the purchase of three new linear accelerator (LINAC) machines. The programme includes a purpose-designed converted building connected to the main hospital site by a glass walkway. In addition, ceiling lightboxes have been installed in the treatment rooms to improve the experience for patients.

The upgrade has taken place in tandem with increased collaboration with University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to develop a centre of regional excellence in oncology services for the East Midlands region.

Best treatment facilities in the country

Chief executive Dr Sonia Swart said: “Well done to everyone involved in delivering this project. The investment in our equipment and facilities coupled with our collaboration with our oncology colleagues in Leicester means that we can confidently say that patients in Northampton and further afield have access to the best treatment facilities in the country.”

Consultant oncologist Dr Craig Knighton said: “With our three existing LINAC machines all coming to end of their life at the same time and needing to be replaced, the timing was perfect for us to look at the bigger picture to see how we could improve the overall experience of our radiotherapy patients.

“With the three new machines, Northampton is now one of the most advanced centres for radiotherapy in the country with no other hospital having so many of these latest models.

“We can now deliver a greater range of therapies than before and because these machines allow for improved positioning of patients, we have better accuracy in targeting cancer cells. This in turn means that patients will suffer fewer or reduced side effects. “

Level of detail

Jo Sanders, senior radiographer, said: “This technology is better for our patients because we can see the effects of the treatment much more quickly thanks to the level of detail our new imaging gives us. So whereas in the past, we’d have to wait to see how a patient’s body has reacted to the treatment, now we can get that information almost straight away. This means we can identify very quickly if we need to alter any part of the treatment plan and it gives patients the reassurance of knowing that their treatment is having an impact.”

A linear accelerator (LINAC) is the device most commonly used for external beam radiation treatments for patients with cancer. The linear accelerator is used to treat all parts of the body by delivering high-energy x-rays to the region of the patient's tumour.

In addition to the three LINAC machines, the hospital has a Gulmay machine which uses superficial x-ray targeting making it ideal for treating a range of cancers affecting the skin or the delicate areas of the face, head and neck.

Posted on Friday 2nd December 2016
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